I didn’t notice that the paper was red and green, only that it was beautifully wrapped. It was three days past my December birthday. I assumed the gift awaiting me at the end of a long day did not want to wait another moment to be opened.
I removed the plaid bow. I carefully lifted the tape. I opened the small brown box and pulled back the tissue. I gasped.
A soft pink and white tea cup, decorated in gold, was tucked inside. Instantly I knew it was not a reproduction but an antique. I carefully lifted it out by its delicate handle. I examined the pattern of gold flowers and leaves wrapped around the sides. I marveled how the same detailed design filled the center of the accompanying saucer, the portion seen only when the cup is lifted.
It was simply beautiful.
The attached Christmas card—yes, this is not the first time I’ve been accused of not waiting until the 25th to open a package—said this:
This tea cup is from my mom’s collection…currently in a box, sitting on a shelf, not
being enjoyed. Knowing how much you like tea and beautiful things, I want you to
have it and hopefully enjoy it.
I believe that beautiful things create beautiful thoughts. My office has an ornate century old ceiling. I bring my pot of roses inside to encourage the growth of a cherished November rose. I’ve spent a lot of time selecting the right strand of pearls for a given day.
When my mother died nearly a decade ago, all the objects of beauty I inherited from her fit inside a single turkey roasting pan. Two weeks ago a friend saw her mother’s heirloom china smashed to the floor in the Anchorage earthquake. As I held the smooth gold rimmed cup in my hand, I could feel the preciousness and fragility of it all.
The gift giver’s note went on, expressing both acknowledgement and gratitude. While she had always been appreciative of our relationship, in this moment my heart felt the depth of it. Her
gifts of acknowledgement —- “thank you” …”I owe much to you”…”We are fortunate to have you in our world”—shined even more brightly than the rim on the cup.
This holiday season, I hope to take my acknowledgments of others from the shelf and give them away at every golden opportunity. They are too precious not to share. Each one a beautiful thing.
Is there an acknowledgment for you to gift to someone?
Is there simple beauty around you right now?
What is precious to you?